NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD announced on Tuesday afternoon that it had made an arrest in an alleged sexual assault in Stuyvesant Town.
The incident happened on Monday night. Police said the suspect, identified as 36-year-old Melvin Collins, tried not once but twice to assault a woman inside her building.
Collins, who lives in Brooklyn, was hit with multiple charges, including burglary, sexual abuse and assault.
CBS 2’s Clark Fouraker went to Stuy Town on Tuesday and residents told him they want everyone to pay more attention to who they’re letting inside.
Security cameras captured the suspect following a woman into an elevator at East 20th Street and Avenue C just after 8 p.m. on Monday. Once inside, the man sexually assaulted the woman, groping and kissing her, police said.
Myra Doneger, who has lived here for 33 years, said she is disturbed by what happened.
“It’s a very safe area. I have a daughter. She grew up here,” Doneger said.
Police said the 42-year-old victim ran off the elevator on the second floor, but the man followed. He pulled her into a stairwell, got on top of her and choked her, police said.
“I’ve always felt safe here, but it’s kind of scary. We’re just not going to let people in behind us now I guess,” Stuy Town resident Kat Salerno said.
Police said the only reason the man was able to get into the building was he followed the woman inside. Residents said they need to be more careful about watching who comes in behind them.
“I’m very careful,” Doneger said. “When I walk through and I see someone I don’t think belongs, I usually call security.”
Cameras caught the man running out of the building, clearly deterred by the victim’s screams in the stairwell. The complex later sent a message to residents about the assault.
“It was very non-specific, but they kind of wanted to let everyone know and be aware,” resident Amir Shirif said. “It’s kind of weird to wake up and get an email that’s like, you know, there’s a sexual assault right next to you.”
The victim suffered scratches to her neck, police said. She was taken to Bellevue Hospital for her injuries and is expected to recover.